Thoughts of a messed up Christian saved by God's grace

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A vessel of honor

One of my all time favorite songs is "He Didn't Throw the Clay Away." It has resonated with me from the first time I heard it, and is at the top of the list of songs that encourages me. We are compared to clay in the Bible, and God is the potter, and to imagine that in spite of all my screw ups, my failures, my falls, the doubts, feelings of failure and worthlessness..... that God doesn't just scrap me, but keeps molding me. That is a "wow" moment for me every time I listen to the song.

Empty and broken, I came back to Him
A vessel unworthy, so scarred by sin.
But He did not despair...He started over again
And I bless the day, He didn't throw the clay away.

Over and over, He molds me and makes me,
Into His likeness, He fashions the clay.
A vessel of honor, I am today,
All because Jesus didn't throw the clay away.

He is the Potter...and I am the clay
Molded in His image, He wants me to stay.
Oh, but when I stumble...
And I fall...
When my vessel breaks,
He just picks up those pieces,
He does not throw the clay away...

Over and over, He molds me and makes me,
Into His likeness, He fashions the clay.
A vessel of honor, I am today,
All because Jesus didn't throw the clay away.

  My favorite singer, Jim Brady, currently of the Booth Brothers (but leaving soon) just came out with a new solo CD, and I was beyond happy to see this song was on it. One of my favorite songs, sung by my favorite singer.... total awesomeness. Needless to say, I have been playing that song over and over.

 And as I have, that one line has been sticking in my head: "a vessel of honor, I am today." I found myself asking the question of myself as I listened to the song, "am I a vessel of honor?" And I am not sure I am. I have so much room for improvement. Most days I feel I fail God more than I don't. And yet, I find myself trying to live up to my own ideal of what I should be as a Christian, instead of God's.

  And just what is a vessel of honor?

  We don't use that word much anymore. You don't ask the waitress to refill your vessel with coffee or pop. You don't refer to the gallon of sweet tea in your refrigerator as a vessel. For the most part, it has been replaced with words like pitcher, container, etc. And we usually don't consider them as important as what is in them. Imagine sitting down to a table to eat and seeing empty containers and serving bowls.

  But yet, they are important too. To hold and showcase what is in them. What is important.

  There is a modern idea that is doesn't matter what we look like on the outside. Mark up your body however you want, pierce whatever you want, wear whatever you want.... look however you want. And yet, if we are a vessel for the King of Kings Himself, shouldn't we look the part?

  Imagine going to a big meal, and when the serving dishes are passed around, they are cracked, dirty, and look like they came from a garage sale. I for one, would be excusing myself and heading elsewhere to eat. For as important whatever is in the serving dishes is to us, we want the vessels holding it to be worthy of what they hold. We want them to look nice.

  Why is it that there are so many jobs where people will wear certain uniforms, wear their hair a certain way, not wear certain jewelry, cover up tattoos...... because they want the job, but scoff and fight at the idea of dressing or not dressing a certain way as a Christian.

  Yeah, it can be taken too far, but come on..... if you dress like a slob, a hooker, or look like you belong in a rock band instead of in church..... is that worthy of Jesus? We can't all dress to the nines, and wear name brand clothes, but we can look decent, and not dress for the world. And maybe it wouldn't hurt us (ouch) to get in better shape physically. What kind of message are we trying to send to the world by how we look?

  A verse taken completely out of context, is "God looks not on the outward, but on the heart," That verse was talking about physical looks and abilities when David was picked over his much bigger and more attractive brothers... it doesn't mean we can be frumpy Fred or bare our bodies to the world.

  It has been said that we should dress for success, dress for the job we want...... well, how about dressing as children of the King, not of the world.

  And yet the outward can look great, modest, neat, and the inside be filthy and stinky. That was Jesus' issue with the Pharisees and Sadducees. They looked good on the outside. They wore their religious robes and kept all of the rules......... but inside, He said they were like a filthy tomb.

  If I am a vessel of honor, I need to look the part of a child of God, and act the part,,,,,, but it shouldn't be just an act. There should be:


  It isn't all about going to church and reading our Bibles and praying. Those are important. But they are part of the outward. What people see. But we can do those, dress nice, bathe often, and take care of ourselves, and still not be a vessel of honor.

  That takes denying ourselves daily, taking up our cross daily. and following Jesus no matter who else does, no matter how rough life gets. Always doing the right thing.

  Does that mean we will never mess up, never say the wrong thing, never hurt someone's feelings? No. And if one has what the Bible calls a besetting sin, we may fall and crack our vessel.

 But God will just put us back on the potter's wheel and keep molding us.

 Honestly? Some days I feel like I am still a lump of clay, not a vessel at all. Other days, I feel like I am a cracked and broken vessel, not worth anything.

 Yet, the shapeless lump of clay can be molded into anything.

 And the cracked and broken vessel..... it can leave in more light than one that is whole. And it can be repaired.

 Being a vessel of honor isn't about being perfect, being the one who can sing a song in church or play the piano the best.

 The best kind of vessel is one that can be used for anything. We have pitchers and containers that are specialized, in that they are only used for certain things. And then there is the Tupperware container, or some other container, that can be used for pretty much anything.

  And that is the kind of vessel God wants. One that is willing to be used by Him for whatever He wills. Wherever He wills. And whenever He wills.

  All He wants is obedience and our trust.

  We don't have to be the next Mother Theresa or Billy Graham. We just have to be faithful and obedient, and live according to His Word.

  That is a vessel of honor. We should look the part, but we need to be the part.

  It doesn't matter what we have done, where we have been, how many times we have fallen and failed Him.......what matters is we let Him put us back on the potter's wheel and be molded into what He wants us to be.


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